In a week where the outcomes should have been predictable, the BrightStaff Alex Alexander Premiership was turned on its head.
The first game of the afternoon last Saturday, featured the Don Foster’s Dive Iguanas up against the Queensgate Pigs Trotters.
As in previous encounters, the Iguanas were expected to use their forwards to dominate play up front, especially as the Trotters pack had looked somewhat uncertain the week before.
Yet what a difference a week can make. The Trotters pack looked to be in much better shape this time around as they matched the Iguanas and in so doing negated the one big advantage the Iguanas were counting on. Among the Trotters forwards Johann Louw was back to his usual form, delivering powerful runs far removed from his performance the previous week.
With their pack neutralised, the Iguanas backs had their work cut out against the Trotters backs who were able to get good clean possession from their forwards.
The quick feet of backs like David Burton and Nantes Booysen soon left gaping holes in the Iguanas defence and the Trotters were quick to capitalise. Apart from a diving try by Daniel Florek, Burton took control of the scoring for the Trotters as they brought home their first win of the season 27-17.
As for the Iguanas, they were left wondering what has gone wrong with their season thus far. As one of the favourites going into the season, they now find themselves with only one win after four games – not quite the start they were envisaging.
The second game of the afternoon was somewhat of a foregone conclusion. The defending champions and thus far undefeated DHL Storm took on the capable but youthful Heineken Surge team.
Barring disaster, the Storm expected to add yet another win to an ever growing list of conquests.
The Storm drew first blood with an early try and the game seemed to be well under way to that forgone conclusion.
Yet the absence of Keswick Wright’s acceleration in the Storm backline was showing as the team failed to open up as many holes in the opposition’s defence as it might have liked.
Mike Hawkins’ power was also sorely missed up front and where the Surge was expected to fold under pressure in the scrums the pack held up much better than expected.
The speed and agility of the Surge players was always going to pose a challenge to the Storm and without the utter dominance expected up front, this soon became a problem for the champs.
Joel Clarke was vital to the Surge as he made a number of telling clearance kicks under great pressure, allowing the team some breathing room.
Michael Wilson distributed the ball very well from the base of scrum and ruck while using his boot to good effect as well, which gave the Surge backline room to move.
With the game finely balanced, apparent confusion as to the score line meant that when the Storm was awarded a penalty in the dying moments of the game they decided to go for a lineout instead of going for posts when a successful conversion would have given the team a one point lead.
At the final whistle, the Surge claimed a nail-biter by a slender 17-15 margin, finally calming a Storm side that had raged so strongly all season.